Monday, November 30, 2015
1. “Thank you for life’s surprises.” – Notice and cherish life’s surprises. Just because it’s not what you were expecting, doesn’t mean it’s not everything you’ve been waiting for. So take a deep breath when you’re rejected from something good. It often means you’re being redirected to something better. Be patient. Be positive. Keep going.
2. “Thank you for the truth I deal with every day.” – Too many of us prefer gentle lies to hard truths. But make no mistake, in the end it’s better to be hurt by the truth than comforted by a lie. And beware of half-truths too – you may have gotten ahold of the wrong half. Open your eyes. You must see things how they are instead of how you hoped, wished or expected them to be. Sometimes it’s hard to accept the truth when the lies were exactly what you wanted to know, but be strong. Life is too short to live a lie.
3. “Thank you for the tough times that taught me important lessons.” – God allows you to experience the low points of life in order to teach you lessons that you could learn no other way.
4. “Thank you for the challenges I must overcome today.” – The brick walls in life are there for a reason. They are not there to keep you out. They are there to give you a chance to show how badly you want something. Because the brick walls are there to stop the people who don’t want it as badly as you do. They are there to stop the other people. There is absolutely nothing about your present circumstances that prevents you from making progress, one step at a time.
5. “Thank you for giving me the courage to continue.” – Courage isn’t having the strength to go on; it’s going on even when you don’t have strength. And remember, it does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.
6. “Thank you for giving me the strength to smile.” – Anyone can be happy sometimes. It takes a human being with real heart to make beauty out of the stuff that naturally makes us weep.
7. “Thank you for the beauty that remains.” – Even when times are really tough, don’t think of all the misery, but of the beauty that still remains.
8. “Thank you for this new beginning I’m living now.” – The best way to prepare for the future is to take care of the present. Goodbyes will always hurt a little. Photographs can never replace the act of being there. Memories, good and bad, will sometimes bring tears. And words can never perfectly describe the feelings they represent. But that’s OK. Pain is real. But so is hope. You have to make peace with your past in order to keep your present and future from becoming hopeless battles.
9. “Thank you for all the choices I have.” – A big part of your life is a result of the little choices you make every day. If you don’t like some part of your life, it’s time to start tweaking things and making better choices, right now, right where you are.
10. “Thank you for my bravery.” – Whenever you’re scared but you still do it anyway, that’s brave.
11. “Thank you for my inner greatness.” – Contrary to what others may say, you do not need to rise to the top, or be the cream of the crop, before you can feel great about yourself. For you are not a failure because you’re not perfect, got rejected or laid off, struggle to make ends meet, or have a family with issues. You are great because, despite your circumstances, you keep loving, you keep getting back up after every fall, and, above all, the little steps you keep taking, you take with grace.
12. “Thank you for the burning desires inside me.” – The starting point of all success is DESIRE. Keep this in mind always. Weak desire brings weak results, just as a small fire creates a small amount of heat. Never give up on something that you can’t go a day without thinking about. When you truly believe in what you’re doing, it shows, and it pays. Success in life is for those who are excited about where they’re going.
13. “Thank you for my intuition and instincts.” – Take constructive criticism seriously, but not personally. Listen, and then operate with your own intuition and wisdom as your guide.
14. “Thank you for my imagination and creativity.” – Imagination and creativity are everything. Together, they draw the preview of your life’s coming attractions. And there are people in nearly every career field who make each day a work of art simply by the way they have mastered their craft. In other words, almost everyone is an artist in some way.
15. “Thank you for the chance to grow.” – You must be willing to give up what you are in order to become what you will be.
Monday, November 23, 2015
1. Question your stories.
You know what they say, don’t believe everything you hear nor everything you read. Don’t believe the gossip columns in the magazine, the doom and gloom predictions from your co-workers, or the “shocking news” that you hear on TV … until you have verified it.
Well, the same concept applies to your inside world – your thoughts.
We all have stories about ourselves even if we don’t think of them as stories. Case in point: How often do you pause and logically contemplate what you really think about your relationships, your habits, or your challenges? How often, on the other hand, do you just blurt out whatever fleeting emotion comes to mind first – i.e., the pre-recorded story you’ve been holding on to – without even thinking?
Stories can be short, such as “I’m not a good writer,” “I’m not good at work,” or “I have intrinsic procrastination problems.” If we were to dig deeper, you’d be happy to go on and try to explain why that is the case.
So the uncluttering exercise here is to question your story. For instance, let’s take the writer example. Ask yourself: Why do I think I am not a good writer? What would it look like to be a good writer? Can I describe my current writing in a way that serves me better?
You will be surprised how often the questioning process helps you emerge with a much better and more accurate version of your story. Give it a try!
2. Prove the power of affirmations to yourself.
You may have heard of positive affirmations. They are statements in the affirmative implying something is already so, such as:
I am a good writer.
I am a talented person.
I am a kind loving person.
Now let’s be honest. When you are feeling frustrated or unhappy, do you really feel like saying a positive affirmation and, more importantly, believing it? Um… probably not, so how do we outsmart our own negative side? By disarming what we call “blurts.”
Blurts are the rotten terrible things that your subconscious mind spews out at you every chance it gets. The idea is to leverage these inner demons by forming an inner dialogue with them that helps you get past your mental clutter and negativity.
Here’s a fun way to think about it: Remember in the old cartoons, they had a demon on one of the character’s shoulders and an angel on the other? Well your blurts are the demon and your affirmations are the angel. Now just play the part of YOU.
Let’s start with a blurt that is running in your mind: “I am going to be alone forever.”
Your affirmation rebukes that with, “Actually, I am going to find the right person to share my life with.”
Now your blurt will come back with: “Oh yeah, and when is that going to happen, 50 years from now?”
To which you say, “I’m not sure, but I feel confident that the right person will find me.”
“Well, what makes you so confident?” says the blurt again.
“Because I am a wonderful, loving person and have a lot to offer,” says the affirmation.
To which your blurt responds, “Oh really? Well, why hasn’t’ it happened already if you’re so great?”
And you reply with, “Well, everything in life comes at the right time.”
You may be chuckling, but I promise you this much, if you just commit to doing this (and it may help to actually write it out) you will be engaged in your own inner thoughts as you are “cleaning house,” and you will understand yourself and the root of your negativity far more deeply.
That is when you start to master peace over chaos in your mind – the beginnings of that internal simplicity.
3. Run your thoughts through three key filters.
Sometimes you are in a hurry, and not having a great day to boot. On days like this, there’s a mental decluttering exercise I use that’s super quick and keeps you in check…
I’ve been in arguments with my husband in the past and one of the things I regret is not filtering my words before saying them. At the time, I did not have the right tools, except “Be nice!”, which does nothing for you when you are feeling the opposite of nice. Some years later, I ran across this simple trick and it helped me shift my behavior. Here’s how it works:
Before you utter anything, run your thoughts through three key filters and don’t speak unless you get three resounding YES responses:
Is it true?
Is it kind?
Is it helpful?
For example, let’s say a running thought in your head says that your partner doesn’t care about you, and you are about to shout those words out because he or she didn’t do the last chore you requested. Question that thought first: Is it true that my partner doesn’t care about me? Is it kind for me to say or think this? Is it helpful for me to say or think this?
Remember you can’t take your words back. What’s more, you will never regret behaving in a true, kind and helpful way down the road. So get in the habit of applying your three key filters.
4. Treat yourself the way you would treat your best friend.
We’ve all heard the expression “Treat others as you would treat yourself,” but do you see the irony of it? As I grew older, and became more aware of my thoughts and stories, I realized that I hardly ever treat others as I treat myself. I actually treat others much nicer, much kinder and way better all around. Yet I manage to treat myself with so much anger, harshness and impatience, and I know I’m not the only one.
When was the last time you said something loving to yourself? When was the last time you held your own hand and hugged yourself just for trying?
Poor self-treatment has become an epidemic, often confused with self-discipline and the drive for success, and it is hurting us far more than it’s helping.
Here’s the truth: You can be both driven and kind, self-disciplined and gentle, successful and happy.
The mental decluttering exercise here is to turn around the statement: Treat yourself the way you treat someone you love. Pick a beloved person or a best friend. How do you treat them? Are you kind, thoughtful, generous, forgiving, and compassionate with them? Now do the same for yourself. After all, are you not worthy of the same treatment, if not better? Of course you are!
5. Simplify, simplify, and then simplify some more.
The easiest yet most challenging decluttering exercise is to think from a place of simplifying. When you have no idea how to tackle the mental clutter, the troubling thoughts or just the general sense of overwhelm, step back and ask:
How do I simplify this situation?
What can I let go of without losing a thing?
Come up with at least one creative way to simplify, to take away the complexity, to make your situation easier. Maybe you take a five-minute break and come back to the problem. Maybe you let go of one unnecessary obligation. Maybe you eliminate distractions for a set time frame. Or maybe you simply decide that, for now, you will accept it the way it is and not fuss over it.
Just remember that these two questions apply to all situations and they give you the space and permission to take a step back and decide on the next best course of action.
Trust yourself in this process of simplifying. Your nature does not consist of complication and overwhelm. Your negative thoughts are not true, but they are real in your mind and questioning them helps you overcome these ingrained self-sabotaging beliefs.
At your core, you will find your essence on this journey. Your nature is peace, simplicity and love. You may be far removed from that state now but you are just getting back to where you really belong, so stay with the right questions and the right answers will gradually show up.
It’s all about uncomplicating your life, one thought at a time.
Sunday, November 15, 2015
1. Meaningful daily reminders make growth and positive change easier.
You can post meaningful quotes on your bedroom wall, or find a coffee, a mug that has a motivational message on it (It could read “Every Day a Miracle is Born”). But you can also take it a step further than that too.
Few good things come easy, and when the going gets tough we often take the easy way out – even though the easy way takes us the wrong way.
Think of moments when you are most likely to give in to impulses that keep you stuck and take you farther away from your ultimate goals. Then use visual reminders of those goals to interrupt the impulse and rebuild the momentum that keeps you on the right track.
2. The space between the things you do is just as important as the things you do.
Pausing for a brief second to end the chaos and busyness can save your life by winning you back precious time and peace of mind. Pausing can also provide you with a break in the habitual action, so you can begin again in a new direction when needed. But you have to leave enough space in your schedule to do so.
It’s tempting to fill in every waking minute of the day with busyness. Don’t do this to yourself. Leave space.
Leave a little space between every one of your commitments. Take a break to breathe and meditate, take a short walk outside, drink a glass of water, or perhaps do some simple deep stretching exercises. Appreciate the space, and just be.
Your ultimate goal is living a life uncluttered by most of the distractions people fill their lives with, leaving you with space for what truly matters. A life that isn’t constant busyness, rushing, and resistance, but instead mindful contemplation, creation and connection with people and projects you truly love.
3. Journaling is a priceless tool for self-reflection and self-improvement.
J.K. Rowling keeps a journal. Eminem keeps a journal. Oprah keeps a journal.
Successful people – those who consistently make positive changes in their life – track their progress, set goals, reflect, and learn from their mistakes. And they often use some kind of journal to accomplish this.
If you want to get somewhere in life, you need a map, and your journal is that map. You can write down what you did today, what you tried to accomplish, where you made mistakes, and so forth. It’s a place to reflect. It’s a place to capture important thoughts. It’s a place to be able to track where you’ve been and where you intend to go. It’s one of the most underused, yet incredibly effective tools available to the masses.
Set aside 15 minutes a day to think and write.
To this day, I still journal almost every morning. And reviewing my notes at the end of the day/week/month always helps me feel positive about all the opportunities still out there for me to explore and achieve.
4. The wrong relationships pull you back – the right ones push you forward.
When you’re moving through a sizeable life transition, it’s important to have close family and friends around you that can offer their support and understanding. There’s no room for needless negativity. It’s like the transition phase in labor – that last phase before a woman gives birth to a new life. She can’t possibly stop to take on other people’s problems or feel guilty about not returning text messages. She needs to protect her thoughts, her time, and her energy.
This same principle applies to you. If you find that you have a toxic, draining relationship that’s constantly bringing you down and keeping you stuck, let them go for a while. They may not be an inherently bad person, but they’re not the right person to be spending time with every day.
Remember, not all toxic relationships are agonizing and uncaring on purpose. Some of them involve people who care about you – people who have good intentions, but are toxic because their needs and way of existing in the world force you to compromise yourself and your happiness. And as hard as it is, we have to distance ourselves enough to give ourselves space to live.
You simply can’t ruin yourself on a daily basis for the sake of someone else. You have to make your well-being a priority. Whether that means spending less time with someone, loving a family member from a distance, letting go entirely, or temporarily removing yourself from a situation that feels painful – you have every right to leave and create some healthy space for yourself.
5. Taking consistent and realistic action every day sets you free.
All details aside, when it comes to making a substantial change in your life – earning a new degree, building a new business, fostering a new relationship, starting a family, becoming more mindful, or any other personal journey that takes time and commitment – one thing you have to ask yourself is:
“Am I willing to spend a little time every day like many people won’t, so I can spend the better part of my life like many people can’t?”
Think about it. We ultimately become what we repeatedly do. The acquisition of knowledge doesn’t mean you’re growing – growing happens when what you know changes how you live.
And remember that this change doesn’t happen all at once. It happens just one small step at a time. When it comes to making changes, less is more.
Tuesday, November 3, 2015
"one day in my career the bad results will come" (Jose Mourinho in 2004).
There comes a point in a man’s life when he realizes who really matters, who never did, and who always will. For all the cynical, constructive and misplaced criticisms that have trailed Jose Mourinho this season, this is perhaps the best mindset to adopt. While he is every journalist’s dream and box office all day long, he is also a cult figure who has polarized opinion since he stormed to football relevance in 2004 after winning the Champions League with F.C Porto. His ingenuity has never been in doubt, but it is his methods that have won him more foes than friends. He is clearly a man who does not suffer fools gladly. At times, he is too blunt to his own demerits and even if his fans will disagree, he stretches the bounds of self-confidence to sheer arrogance at times.
Monday, November 2, 2015
They say some men are born great, some achieve greatness, while some have greatness thrust upon them
For you all we celebrate today, you are a rare combination of all three
You will always be a part of our hearts
It is a truism that flattery cannot strip of its essence
You have left indelible marks
Landmarks that time cannot defile
You have given of yourself; shed a part of you into our lives
This truth no one can alter
You have been our leaders
Exquisite leaders, leaders that have inspired leaders that truly care
You have been a part of our lives, a crux of our existence.
We celebrate you all
We celebrate T.A
Our thermostatic leader
Your sublime panache
Your flourishing poise
Your friendly demeanor
Your faultless humour
In sum, our leader per excellence
We celebrate A.A
Your spotless humility
Your uncommon carriage
Your imperious style
Your trademark voice
Your soothing listening ear
Thank you for whom you have been to us
We celebrate K.O
Your blunt friendliness
Your rare calmness
Your uncanny wisdom
Your mindas touch
In sum, a leader with whom there is no lacuna for mediocrity
Thank you for all you represent
And when all is said and done
When work gives way to the fullness of age
When the chips are down
When memory fails us
When push comes to shove
Always remember, we will still be friends!
Our bound shall grow tighter
Our fondness shall linger
Our relationship shall never flounder
And you shall always remain in our minds.
And on days like this, we curse the word goodbye. We know it means no harm, but we are broken by its reality. It gives you people that makes your world lighter, better and stronger and suddenly, it takes them away to diverse parts. But in our case, it was fair enough, to give us another alos paracletus!
And while words might not be enough
While our eulogies might be fleeting, our hearts revere you all today and for all times
And when the rhetorics fade away
The point remains that you all by the way you have led your life, have improved our lives
Always know that we will still be friends, friends forever.
Thank you all for all you have been to us and thank you for all you will yet be to us.
Poem written and recited on the send-forth dinner of my MD, Mentor and Friend!